LastID Plugin

Acoustic fingerprinting is a technique for identifying songs from the way they “sound” rather from their existing metadata. That means that beets’ autotagger can theoretically use fingerprinting to tag files that don’t have any ID3 information at all (or have completely incorrect data). The MusicBrainz project currently uses a fingerprinting technology called PUIDs, but beets uses a different fingerprinting algorithm provided by Last.fm.

Turning on fingerprinting can increase the accuracy of the autotagger—especially on files with very poor metadata—but it comes at a cost. First, it can be trickier to set up than beets itself (you need to compile the fingerprinting code, whereas all of the beets core is written in Python). Also, fingerprinting takes significantly more CPU and memory than ordinary tagging—which means that imports will go substantially slower.

If you’re willing to pay the performance cost for fingerprinting, read on!

Installing Dependencies

To use lastid, you’ll need to install the pylastfp fingerprinting library, which has a few dependencies: fftw, libsamplerate, and Gstreamer for Python. How you install these will depend on your operating system. Here’s a few examples:

  • On Ubuntu, just run apt-get install libfftw3-dev libsamplerate0-dev python-gst0.10-dev.
  • On Arch Linux, you want pacman -S fftw libsamplerate gstreamer0.10-python.

Let me know if you have a good source for installing the packages on Windows.

To decode audio formats (MP3, FLAC, etc.), you’ll need the standard set of Gstreamer plugins. For example, on Ubuntu, install the packages gstreamer0.10-plugins-good, gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad, and gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly.

Then, install pylastfp itself. You can do this using pip, like so:

$ pip install pylastfp

Using

Once you have all the dependencies sorted out, you can enable fingerprinting by editing your .beetsconfig. Put lastid on your plugins: line. Your config file should contain something like this:

[beets]
plugins: lastid

With that, beets will use fingerprinting the next time you run beet import.

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